Commission President Ursula von der Leyen wants to force the EU countries to save gas if necessary. If households and companies in the member states do not voluntarily save enough gas and the supply situation deteriorates dramatically, Brussels is to set binding savings targets, which the national governments must meet, without consulting the national governments. This is what the latest draft of a gas emergency plan, which is available to WELT, provides.

The plan initially envisages a voluntary reduction in gas consumption for all member states. Only when the Commission finds that the states are not meeting their reduction targets, or when the supply situation deteriorates dramatically, or both occur, does the Commission want to oblige the member states to save gas accordingly.

The relevant regulation should “establish a process to declare an EU alert level at any time in the coming weeks or months if the situation and the outlook change negatively, if the balance between supply and demand is at stake and if the situation is likely to become an emergency leads,” says the current draft of a communication. In addition, at least two member states would have to apply for the mandatory savings targets.

“If that is the case, the Commission can activate a mandatory reduction of (x%) to ensure the EU-wide reductions that are necessary for a safe winter for everyone.” There is contention between the member states and also within the Commission how big the savings should be. According to Commission circles, 5 to 15 percent are currently under discussion.

This would give the authority new powers in one fell swoop. Von der Leyen and Vice President Frans Timmermans, who is responsible for climate issues, want to get approval for this in an exceptionally shortened, fast-track procedure.

It is planned that the plan will be officially presented on Wednesday and then be approved at a special summit of energy ministers next Tuesday, July 26th. The European Parliament will have no say in this.

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